Northrend and beyond

28 06 2010

I wrote a quick update a while ago mentioning that I had just hit level 70 with my (not so) new Ret Paladin in WOW. Well time has moved on since then and so have Curadane and I.

I have now said good bye to outland and have ventured off bravely into the freezing wastes of Northrend.

7 levels later and I feel like I have seen enough of the continent to put my two pennies in.

Overall I am really impressed; there is a sense of scale to the continent that makes it seem as if a mere ten levels of questing and grinding just isn’t enough to see it all. I know some people like to rag on sandbox games and MMO’s because there is just too much scope for going off and doing basically not very much in order to explore huge sections of map but I like it.

If I am going to go to the bother of controlling a virtual person in a made up world I at least want that world to seem like a place worth visiting, both in terms of places to go and things to do.

There is no point putting a serious investment of time (and wow is a serious timesink) into a game if you can trot across the whole map in five minutes and keep revisiting the sae half dozen or so locations to speak to the same couple of dozen protagonists.

Another thing which pleased me about WOTLK in general and Northrend in particular is the graphics, now granted as a long time LOTRO player they aren’t really anything to write home about however I do think they are a big step up from Vanilla WOW or The Burning Crusade. One of the main reasons that I prefer the graphics in WOTLK is that they are less cartoony than many of the graphics in TBC. I know the reasoning behind it and agree that it suited that particular expansion but personally they just weren’t my cup of tea.

The quests and dungeons all seem well thought through and there are some interesting new tweaks that help to keep things fresh, even if some of them are a little gimmicky (I’m thinking of the harpoon guns in Utgarde Pinnacle) but there is definitely something fun about driving round in a siege engine as part of Wintergrasp PvP or  flying a war dragon around as part of the Occulus instance.

So the not so good things….

I’m not sure on Death Knights, I wrote at some length before about my issues with DKs and I’m sorry ot say that having now spent a few more weeks grouping with them my initial opinions haven’t changed.

I think that a big part of the DK problem is that even by the time you are playing through Halls of Stone, The Nexus etc etc they just don’t seem to have really learnt their class….at all.

There is a long list of issues that I have regularly come across and it seems I am not alone a lot of other players are also complaining about these and others:

Tanking in all DPS gear – Just because it is plate it doesn’t mean you should tank with it!!

Hoping that DPS alone will generate enough threat for you to be able to hold a room full of mobs – fail in anyone’s language

Not using Frost presence when tanking….seriously wtf?

Oh yeah and my favourite the shitty fairy at the top of the Death Knoob tree, the cherry on top of the liquishit cake you so freely share around…..

After a wipe on halls of lightning, Utgarde Pinnacle etc “Soz guys my 1st time tanking roflol”….Well thanks a lot, thanks for fucking up the one instance run a night that I might get on an instance I actually need to do, thanks for the half the group (usually including a pissed off healer) dropping as soon as this utterance leaves your lips and lets not forget the 10g minimum that you have just cost me in having to go repair my sorry plate wearing ass.

Ok calm, down deep breaths, DK rant over.

I also dislike the 1k gold it costs for cold weather flying, just seems like a money sink but hey thats life. Personally I never rock less than 4/5k gold at any given time so dont mind paying it, but there are a lot of players who will spend whole weeks farming just to hit that 1k or alternately will decide to contact their friendly neighbourhood Chinese gold farmer in order to puke up some of their hard earned cash.

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DING 70!

10 06 2010

Well I am surprisingly tardy in reporting this but I hit 70 on Tuesday evening.

Obviously it’s not the big deal it used to be but it still gives me a sense of achievement, there are now only 10 measly levels between me and the Lich King.

Because I actually really like the Burning Crusade content I have decided against jumping ship to Northrend straight away, I really want to work my way through some of the greatraids that there are in TBC, in particular Sunwell Plateau and Mount Hyjal.

I only ever got to complete Sunwell once before I took my gaming hiatus and would really like to give it another whirl.

Being a few years further on as a gamer and having been a bit more patient and focused on making some gold I am really enjoying the benefits of having good gear.

Ret Pallys are really gear dependant and I see some of my compatriots really struggling in comparisson to other classes for two simple reasons; either their gear sucks balls or they aren’t bothering with  can’t afford the little things that make all the difference like decent gems and enchants.

Sure I might have taken a week  or so longer in order to get here but good god the time spent farming has sure payed off!

So if you happen to be hanging around Boulderfist (not likely) and want to run some TBC raids then hit me up 🙂





Ding 60 – Outlands here I come

21 05 2010

I dinged 60 last night.

Now I know that other than sentimentality there isn’t really any milestone attached to 60 anymore but hey I’m nothing if not sentimental!

I remember the first time I ever hit 60, it was back in the vanilla days of  WOW and it was just a real sense of achievement, it really did feel like you had accomplished something. Luckily enough there was plenty to keep me grounded and stop me feeling like king of Azeroth.

Reaching the level cap or end game or whatever else you might choose to call it isn’t the ned, not by a long shot, if anything it is actually more of a beginning, everything else starts to feel like you were just training in order to reach this point.

I  got to experience that same feeling all over again when The Burning Crusade was launched and if anything hitting 70 was even more epic then 60, more or less the first drop that I got in outland was better than most of my gear that I had picked up in Azeroth and everything was just more polished.

Going back into Outland again probably isn’t going to convey that same buzz as it did last time but in a meagre ten levels time I will be ready to experience it all over again when I finally set foot in Northrend.

For those of you sad enough to care here is how things currently look in my armoury, I was stupidly pleased to get both Light Touched Breastplate and Bloodstained Ravager Gauntlets drop to me in just one run of hellfire ramparts.

Yeah I know the gauntlets are mail but the stats are better than my previous plate ones and besides I have been able to chuck a bunch of gems into everything and effectively give myself  a bit of a boost to my strength, crit and stamina.

Now to get that flying mount training 🙂





My WOW wishlist

17 05 2010

I love games, it doesn’t hugely matter what type of game, I have played or would play more or less any type of game what so ever.

However due to being a great big geek of a certain age and disposition I have always had a soft spot in my heart for D&D style RPG, be it table top, text based scroller, Baldur’s Gate style PC fun or more recently MMORPGs.

As a result it  was more or less inevitable that I would end up falling into the life consuming black hole that is World of Warcraft, I first played about 4 years ago  now and needless to say I was impressed, there was a sheer sense of scale that I hadn’t come across before in a video game.

Times change and things move on, I grew dissillusioned with WOW and set out n search of other MMOs to pit my skills against.

I settled on Lord of the rings online by Turbine, I was very pleased with LOTRO and have been an avid player ever since I first set foot in the Shire.

 For starters the game is stunning and I don’t just mean for an MMO it is stunning compared to more or less any game out there that you care to mention! The story is also very well done and the whole game does feel plot driven, no mean feat considering that the game runs parallel to the story of the fellowship and other than crossing paths with the members occasionally runs completely separately.

The only problem with LOTRO is that it doesn’t have that same sense of  scale that WOW has and I’m not talking about the size of the world map. WOW has always felt sort of limitless and like there is always something that you haven’t quite managed to do yet.

LOTRO has lost that for me a little bit, some of  the end game content has been a little bit weak and the new expansion, Siege of Mirkwood, didn’t really add to the game in the same way that Mines of Moria did.

So I went back to WOW after a 2.5 year hiatus. A LOT has changed for starters Wrath of the Lich King has been launched and we are very rapidly approaching the launch of Cataclysm, the third expansion pack.

Backstory over.

I was day dreaming on Saturday about ways in which I would try and improve WOW if I could and I actually hit upon a few ideas that I thought were actually quite feasible and would add just that little bit extra to the game, the glace cherry on top of the already delicious cake if you will.

LOTRO players might notice a theme here so I am going  to come out and say it these are ideas that are implemented in LOTRO, they aren’t unique to there but I do feel that Turbine have implemented them particularly well.

So here in no particular order is my WOW wishlist:

1. Player houses.

A simple idea and some might say a extraneous one but there is something about having your own piece of in game real estate that just adds to the overall sense of immersion.

Imagine having your tree house in Un Goro crater or a mud hut to call your own in the Barrens! Also It needn’t just be a status symbol for you to decorate and show off, you could have additional storage that you could purchase and your own little mailbox right at your front door (I’m blatantly stealing at this point!)

This is saying nothing of guild halls, imagine if you will a starter guild with some drafty two room hall in Brill, it’s humble but for you and the guys its home, contrast this with the mini-fortress on the outskirts of Orgrimmar owned by a mighty raiding guild, the walls are festooned with trophies from their countless victories and a sense of pride and strength eminates from the very building itself filling all who enter it with a sense of awe.

2. An outfit system.

If you are a player on an RPG server or just someone who likes to have a bit of a backstory and make themselves that bit different what would be better than a change of outfit.

Maybe you have some comfortable “town clothes” you want to wear after a hard days questing, perhaps you love the stats on your armour but hate how it looks?

Well what if you were to have separate tabs on your character viewer, your main tab would have the armour and equipment that you are actively using and gaining stats from, the other tabs could have items dropped onto them that would simply display; are you a mage that always wanted to run around in full plate looking like a warrior go for it, you will still be squishy and dead but you will certainly look badass!

I know this is purely for the sake of vanity but it isn’t as if this would be a first look at the whole collection of vanity pets out there that not only do people go nuts for but they pay RL money to get em. Blizzard could so much money off of this it would be nuts, we are talking fat stacks of paper just for giving people imaginary clothes.

3. Legendary Weapons.

In LOTRO there is a class of weapon that makes everything else look like a blunt fruit knife by comparison, Legendary Weapons.

Basically these are a better class of wepaon that becomes available to you late on in the game, they have a variety of different sockets – nothing new there, they can be enchanted – again no great shakes but they gain xp .

The more you use them and the more badass mothers you take down the more xp your weapon of choice gains and as we all know points make prizes, when you reach certain levels of xp you can add points to the various stats on your item.

There are even two types of NPC just to support legendary weapons; lets say you find a new legenday axe, you need to identify it before you can use it, so off you trot to an expert and find out that this particular axe has x,y,z stats, don’t like these stats? Well in that case pop next door to his buddy and melt the axe down, on melting it down you will end up various relics, gems and runes that made the axe what it was that you can either slot into other weapons or combine together to make even more powerful relics etc.

Personally I don’t like how frequently legenday weapons drop in LOTRO but I can see it working in WOW, imagine being able to have a completely customisable sword or axe or staff that would grow with you, we aren’t talking some all conquering death bringer but it would certainly be a damn damn fine weapon.

Maybe it would be a class of weapon that would only be available at end game and would add yet another face to what is available to do whilst waiting for the next expansion to come out, maybe they would be PvP only and you would get the relics etc by looting the corpses of your HKs, to my mind there are a whole range of possibilities.

Well that is it, I’m spent, I’m all wished out.

Feel free to suggest your own ideas or tear mine into shreds, healthy discussion makes the world go round after all 😉





Ding 50 :D

12 05 2010

DING!

No that isn’t the sound of a particularly obnoxious microwave signalling that it has finsihed making food frozen on the outside but viciously magma hot on the inside.

It is instead the sound of me hitting level 50 in WOW.

This isn’t as auspicious as it once would have been;  pre The Burning Crusade hitting level 50 would have meant that you were a mere 10 levels away from reaching the holy grail of end game content.

These days the bar has been raised yet again, Wrath of the Lich King laughed at level 70 and taunted and teased us with new raids and better gear until we the struggled to the summit and hit level 80.

Even so I still think of level 50 as a bit of a landmark if only for the fact that at this point you are now more than 50% of your way through the grind of levelling and that hopefully by this point you have come some way towards mastering your particular class.

Alterac Valley here I come!





A quick gold making tip

25 04 2010

Just want to point out to those that are interested a neat tip I came across on one of the blogs that I subscribe to.

It might be something that everyone other than me is already doing and if you are then great!

But I wasn’t and even in just 2 days I have started to see a real benefit.

In short it boils down to this, use excel to track your sales… genius! To read in full what I am on about click here.





Welcome to the world…of Warcraft

24 03 2010

Well after a two year break away from the digital crack that is WOW it looks like I am headed straight back into the most popular MMORPG known to man.

My reasons for leaving WOW in the first place are numerous; from the packs of annoying 12 year olds playing with Mum and Dad’s Mastercard through to the annoying gits corpse camping everywhere they can in order to gank noobs. To cut a long story short I vowed never to return and promptly threw myself into LOTRO (Lord of the Rings Online) with great gusto.

But times change and people change; my High Elf Guardian is now level 65, Moria has been thoroughly stomped into submission and Mirkwood has been torn a new one, in short I’m bored.

The Kinship that I helped start has matured to a point whereby it doesn’t need the constant fussing and maintenance anymore, the endless stream of new players looking for someone to run them through instances or join their group to help twink them has dried up to the occasional trickle.

So like an addict looking for his next fix I have been trying out everything and anything I can get my hands on; Baldurs Gate I & II, Never Winter Nights, Oblivion, Fable II and Spellforce I&II all have been chewed up and spat out again as I try to find something to fill the bottomless RPG void in my life. Likewise I have dabbled with some harder stuff; Perfect World International , Age of Conan and Dungeons and Dragons online, but none of them have managed to hold my attention for more than a few fleeting hours.

So what is it about WOW that sets it apart from the competition, there are certainly other games that are very enjoyable and equally immersive;  LOTRO is one game that springs instantly to mind.

I guess there are as many views on why WOW is top dog as there are players, but for me I think it isn’t one big thing that sets it apart, it’s a collection of many smaller things.

I think that unlike many other MMOs that are out there WOW has got the mix just right, for the avid PVPer there are whole servers set aside where you gank people to your hearts content, for the more player that doesn’t always want to be risking certain (virtual) death at the hands of a superhuman  Korean there are still designated places where you can melt faces and for those of us that would rather not vanquish our fellow players there is insane amounts of PVE content that mean you need never set foot in an area or battleground.

The classes are well worked out and by this stage in the game they all  feel more or less “right” there isn’t anyone class that is desperately in need of being tweaked to make it more powerful or toned down to make things fairer on everyone else, if I compare this to other games it is a vastly different situation; for a long while in LOTRO the Hunter class was basically a death dealing demon from the skies, yes it was squishy if you got in close, verrry squishy but that didn’t matter, the mobs were dead before they realised they were in a fight.

Sure it was corrected eventually but in the meanwhile things just felt a tad unbalanced, no slight on Turbine; they have done a fine job of turning the works of Tolkien into a very playable MMO, but at the same time I can’t imagine Blizzard taking as long to react, too many people would complain.

Maybe this brings me to the key point here, WOW is quite simply huge, not just in terms of the amount of content (which is monsterous) or the areas there are to explore (which are vast) but also in terms of the sheer number of players; last time I looked there are over 12 million of the buggers, to put this into context that more people then there are in Belgium (WOW is more exciting than Belgium as well).

When you have that many players all paying there monthly fees you are talking about a lot of pounds, shillings and pence each month, if you DON’T stay on top of your game you are shafted, if keeping 12 million people happy means that you take just an extra little bit of care with things, or pay just that extra 5% extra attention to detail, than that is a small price to pay! Plus when 12 million people talk you have to listen.

If you are running a MMO and have an in game population of say 300,000 if you do something that 2% of people don’t like you get 6000 complaints, if you dont act on that you might lose half of those people that complained so you might lose 3000 people.If Blizzard manage to piss of 2% of their in game population thats 240, 000 disgruntled customers, thats a figure that some games would bend over backwards to have as their entire subscription base.

So maybe thats why WOW is the best, maybe not at everything all of the time, but certainly overall.

They are the best because they have to be, 12 million payments of $14,99 a month say they have to be.

As for me going back maybe the biggest factor is that my girlfriend has finally said I can…








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